Nelson Hari could spend days in the bush hunting stags and boars, but deep down he was a softy.
"He's got the softest, kindest nature you could ever have," his heartbroken mother Nina told the Herald today. "He doesn't have a bad bone in his body. He's one of the good guys."
Hari died while walking home along Tapuaeroa Rd, Ruatoria, on Sunday after drinking with friends. Police were called to the scene about 12.40am.
He had already walked about 1km and had about 5km to go, his mother says. However, given their rural location there are no street lights around.
The confusion surrounding how he died is also adding to the devastation - police initially said it was a hit and run, before clarifying that the male driver was helping with them their inquiries.
Nina Hari says she's trying to block out "all the talk" about how her beloved son died. It's not going to bring him back.
Hari was 25 and fighting fit. He had been in the shearing game for 10 years, although Dad, Hira Hari, eased him into it before giving him some clippers.
He'd worked in the South Island, Masterton and more recently Australia doing stints for about three months before popping home again, most recently in November.
It had been his longest time home and his Australian mates were starting to wonder where he was, she said.
"I think he'd been getting a bit too comfortable. I was wondering when he was going to get back to Australia. His friends were ringing up from Australia and calling him names."
The Haris have their own shearing contracting business so Hari had begun working for the whanau again.
"He's born and bred in the shed basically ... all of my children have been in there."
It wasn't his dream job - there's just not a lot of options in Ruatoria, she said.
"When you leave school too young , there's not much work here, there's only farm work, forestry and the shearing. So there you go, there's your job. That's basically what happened."
His oldest brother, Joshua, 33, is a shearer. Jarem, 15, and Wetini, 14 go to Dilworth School in Auckland but are also in the shed when they're home. Sister, Josselle, 27, helps out on occasion but her focus is her young child so looks after the house and has a meal ready for when they all get home.
As for what happened Sunday morning, the specifics are still unclear, but Nina Hari knows her son would have been tired and may have fallen asleep.
"He would have been really tired and decided to walk home ... to him, he was pretty used to walking home ... given the time and [his] clothes you cannot see people walking until you are there. It doesn't really matter to me that much but if there was any foul play then it would most certainly be upsetting."
Hari spent Friday and Saturday being involved in the local Pukeamaru Boar and Stag Hunting Competition. He had caught a stag on the Friday.
He never made it to Sunday's weigh-in but his father and brothers took it for him - he got second.
"I'm sure Nelson would have been thrilled about it. He would have wanted his brothers to get it in there and get it weighed.
"He loved hunting. He was a neat kid."
For now, the hardest part is not only the lack of clarity as to how Hari died but when they will be able to hold his tangi.
Nina Hari believes her son's post mortem examination won't be carried out in Palmerston North until Wednesday - a delay caused by the Easter holiday break.
Hari's death is currently one of two to occur over Easter.
On Sunday, a 21-year-old Southland man died in a crash on the Riverton-Wallacetown Highway at Oporo.
The official Easter road toll period began at 4pm on Thursday and ends at 6am tomorrow.